There was an article in the New York Times a couple of days ago about the political system and lack of fair and open elections in Kazakhstan:
Having just read Apples are from Kazakhstan, I likely paid more attention to this article than I would have previously. The author of Apples are from Kazakhstan was quite pro-Nazarbayev; the president took the author on trips and gave him hours of interviews. The book acknowledged concerns about the democratic process, but mostly brushed them off, arguing that in fact everyone in Kazakhstan does support the president. It was good to read this article and get another perspective.
Also, I’ve finished reading Persepolis 2. After reading Persepolis, I commented that I was surprised at people’s willingness to violate laws in seemingly trivial ways. It turns out that Persepolis 2 addresses this question very well:
“The regime had understood that one person leaving her house while asking herself, ‘Are my trousers long enough?’ . . . no longer asks herself ‘Where is my freedom of thought?’ . . . ”